A discrimination lawsuit against a Panda Express restaurant in San Jose, California alleges that Hispanic/Mexican workers were required to clean the bathrooms while Asian workers looked on. The complaint, which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California, seeks monetary and punitive damages on behalf of the Hispanic workers, as well as training on anti-discrimination laws.
According to the EEOC, the general manager of the Panda Express located on El Paseo de Saratoga gave less desirable assignments to Hispanic workers, reduced their hours, and held them to a different standard of performance. Aremy Lomely and other Hispanic workers who worked as counter help were required to clean the bathroom, tables, and counters, while Asian employees were permitted to simply stand around and watch, said the federal agency. In addition, the EEOC found that the general manager disciplined Latino employees in a stricter, harsher, and more frequent manner than Asian employees for similar infractions.
In a press release from the EEOC, Lomely said that the general manager’s treatment of Mexican workers divided them from the Asian workers. Lomely stated, “I felt so ashamed when the Asian workers watched me obediently run from the bathroom to the tables to the counters, cleaning when they did not have to. For months, he treated me like a worthless employee, disciplining me for things he would never hold against his non-Hispanic food line servers. It is such a relief to know that the law says this is not OK.”
Discrimination based on national origin violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law requires employers to base employment decisions on the skills, experience, and merit of individual employees, instead of national origin or ancestry.